What if…


…we took the top three scores only from the top four teams from preliminaries?  After all, that’s exactly what’s going to happen in team finals.  The only difference is each team will have to pick their best three gymnasts BEFORE they compete, rather than retrospectively picking the top three scores out of five on each event.  Nonetheless, it’s the most up-to-date data we have to assess each team’s scoring potential in the team finals.


The table below summarizes the team standings and compares results using the best four scores on each event (qualifications format) and the best three scores on each event (similar to the team finals format).  It also shows the differences between each team and first place:




Team Score Using Four Scores

Team Score Using Three Scores

Difference From First Place Using Four Scores

Difference From First Place Using Three Scores

























What should we gain from looking at all these numbers?


  • Overall, the total scores get closer together when we count just three scores instead of four.  Russia gets closer to the USA, and China gets much closer to Russia.  Romania gets slightly closer to the USA and Russia, but actually falls FURTHER behind China.


  • This is not a FOUR-POINT race between the top three teams as the qualification results suggest…it is a TWO-POINT race.  Remember that falls are one point each.


  • Although the USA still comes out on top when we count the top three scores, remember they suffered the least number of errors of any of these teams in qualifications.


  • Russia threw no Amanars on vault in qualifications, and we know that both Nabieva and Komova are capable of them.  If both were to throw them successfully in the finals, this could potentially add about 1.5 points to their vault total.  Russia also counted a very rough routine from Dementieva on beam (could score a full point higher) and had to count a low 14 on floor because of Dementieva’s falls (could add at least half a point).  That’s three points the Russians could gain if they throw Amanars and hit 12 for 12 in the finals.


  • China lost TWO POINTS on bars from He Kexin’s missed routine – they counted a 13.866 and He Kexin can score high 15’s-16 (scored 16 both days of team competition last year).  Note that Jiang was scoring well into the 15’s on bars last year, and this could potentially bring them at least another half a point if she hit in the finals (though I’m not sure they’ll use her).  They could also gain about half a point on beam if Tan Sixin competes and hits (can certainly score a 15). That’s two-and-a-half to three points that China could gain in the finals as well.


  • Romania appears to be a bit of a long shot for a medal, but we’d still be foolish to count them completely out.  Note that Romania didn’t even break a 14 on bars, and Porgras can easily score mid-14’s – this would bring about a point to the bars total.  And Porgras could bring at least a half a point on beam with her typical 15+ score, and at least a half a point on floor with the high 14 she’s capable of.  That’s two points to Romania’s team total, which would still leave them three-and-a-half points behind third!  It looks like Romania’s going to have to get some significantly higher scores on bars and also count on some big misses from the top three teams if they want to sneak in there.  But we’ve seen stranger things happen in team finals…I don’t think ANYONE expected Romania to beat out Russia for the bronze in 2008, but that’s exactly what happened.


The USA still enters the team final as the favorite, but don’t be deceived; this competition will be much closer than the qualification results suggest.